The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 69

Russian Language - is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?


marvel1990 1 | -
16 Dec 2009  #1
I am curious... I am American learning to speak Russian. If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them? Am I better of with just speaking English?

Thank you!
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Dec 2009  #2
better of with just speaking English?

I would suggest that since most Poles don't like speaking Russian, even if they can.
Derevon 12 | 172
16 Dec 2009  #3
Speaking Russian to a Pole is like trying to speak English to a Frenchman. ;)
Natalilia - | 8
16 Dec 2009  #4
I would suggest that since most Poles don't like speaking Russian, even if they can.

i do not understand what you are speaking about :)
I am Russin living in Poland. Very often people speaks to me in russian in shops,restaurants, streets - even i speak with them on Polish. But every one always happy to mention that they had learned Russian at school, remember some words , knows Pushkin and have some friends in Russia /
Softsong 5 | 495
16 Dec 2009  #5
It is strange that my mother who was born in the USA and (who learned Polish as a child because she loved to spend time with her grandmother), could get the gist of some of what Kruschev said when he was on TV in the USA. She also could understand some Ukranian.

She always said that she spoke Polish about on the level of a five year old child. Her brother and sisters could not understand, or speak in Polish at all. And naturally they could not understand anything in Russian or Ukranian.

My mother's mother was born in the USA, as well, but she lived in a community of Polish immigrants in Jersey City, NJ and went to Polish school. She could read and write in Polish, but she used English when she raised her family. My mother was the sibling who spent the most time with her Polish-born grandmother.
Gaa 2 | 155
16 Dec 2009  #6
I am curious... I am American learning to speak Russian. If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them? Am I better of with just speaking English?

i think you'd better speak English. Because you speak English... you aren't Russian..besides Russian is not that similar to Polish. i hardly understand anything.although older people are likely to speak Russian.

She also could understand some Ukranian.

i live close to Ukrainian border and know some Ukrainians here who speak Polish very well, i don't watch Ukrainian tv,don't listen to Ukrainian music,i never learnt Ukrainian but i understand almost everything they say.at least Ukrainians from western part of Ukraine:) for me Ukrainian language is much more similar to Polish.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Dec 2009  #7
i do not understand what you are speaking about :)
I am Russin living in Poland. Very often people speaks to me in russian in shops,restaurants, streets - even i speak with them on Polish. But every one always happy to mention that they had learned Russian at school, remember some words , knows Pushkin and have some friends in Russia /

I know what you are saying and my post was not intended to disregard Russian culture. You are Russian, so it only makes sense that some people will be happy to speak some Russian to you and mention that they learnt Russian and school and so on. You cannot disregard the fact the Poles HAD to learn Russian at school, so there maybe some people, who would not want to use that language as a way of communication, unless they had no other choice. However, the OP is NOT Russian, but an English speaker, so it would make sense that he would be trying to communicate in his own language. I think that he was trying to find out if those two languages are similar, so he can communicate in Russian with Poles more so then in English. They are not that similar, but I guess OP will find out once in Poland.

just my 2 cents:)
Zafrira - | 5
16 Dec 2009  #8
I don't think people in Poland would find it offensive if you spoke Russian to them. Personally, I sometimes do it for fun - pretend I'm a foreigner and go shopping, ask for way etc. - noone ever was unhelpful just because of the language I used.

The vital thing is that while using English is by far the best way to communicate with young people, the older generation, especially not well-educated individuals, is much more likely to speak better Russian than English, as they learned it at school. In this case, it's more than appreciated to use Russian.

Or if your reason for speaking Russian is not the will to practise it, but just a conviction of its similarity to Polish, then you should know that it won't work - a Pole who doesn't know Russian won't understand you at all :)
asik 2 | 220
16 Dec 2009  #9
I am curious... I am American learning to speak Russian. If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them? Am I better of with just speaking English?

Don't start speaking Russian until you ask people what language do they prefer to speak, English or Russian. That's the best option and noone would be offended.

Some Polish people don't like speak Russian and many of them don't know the language .

For example, I hate when the Russians are too sure I must know Russian language and without even asking talk to me in Russian (in the country where English is the language).

The fact is some Polish people are angry with Russians because we were told to study Russian at the early age in schools and at the same time Russians were happy to learn English.

Today many Polish people speak and know very well the English and German language, these are the most popular foreign languages in Poland now.
stevepl 2 | 49
16 Dec 2009  #10
My wife comes from a fairly small village. When I'm there some of the older neighbours try to speak to me in Russian (even though I can communicate quite well in Polish). They know I'm a foreigner and perhaps they're just testing too see if I understand Russian better than Polish. I agree with the earlier posts, I think that most of the older generation would be quite happy to try to communicate with you in Russian ( and as you're not Russian I don't think there would be any resentment).

With the younger generation English would probably be the best option.

Speaking Russian to a Pole is like trying to speak English to a Frenchman. ;)

Perhaps English native speaking to a Frenchman. When we were in France I was amazed how many of them understood and replied in English to my Polish freinds. I'm going to practise a fake accent before my next visit.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
17 Dec 2009  #11
If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them?

No but very few Poles under 30 know It and older people usually only the basics...
Sasha 2 | 1,083
17 Dec 2009  #12
If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them?

That reminds me of how I tried to speak Swedish with a German guy (I thought he was a Swede first). :) That would hardly work out, unless you know for certain which words we've got in common.

Speak English, until the moment when you see the person you talk to knows Russian/is ok to speak it. The other thing is that nobody likes Russians in Europe or better to say that considering our current place in the world community and an average behaviour of Russian tourists you may be treated as a 3rdworlder - arrogantly and irreverently.

Last summer I was in Croatia. Speaking English/German was an advantage, even though the service Croats provided was so Russian. :-/
You can practice your Russian with me. :)))
asik 2 | 220
17 Dec 2009  #13
in Europe or better to say that considering our current place in the world community and an average behaviour of Russian tourists you may be treated as a 3rdworlder - arrogantly and irreverently.

Would you have a different opinion if you were ...Polish or Czech or from the Eastern Germany???????
Sasha 2 | 1,083
17 Dec 2009  #14
What do you mean? Would I be treated as 3rdworlder if I were a Lekh, a Czekh or Niemec s vostoka? I guess not as much as it is now. All aforesaid have the better image in the world than Russians do at the moment. :) That's not my inferiority complex, this is just my opinion. I'm in fact proud being of Slav and being Russian as well as I'm proud of the whole Slavic contribution to this world.

Polish and Czech tourists often exposes their Slavic souls too, but Russia is just bigger in terms of both size and population, thus we bear the burden. :)
asik 2 | 220
17 Dec 2009  #15
Polish and Czech tourists often exposes their Slavic souls too, but Russia is just bigger in terms of both size and population, thus we bear the

At the moment Russians are a big mafia for their own people= russians! That's what bigger means for me.
Sasha 2 | 1,083
17 Dec 2009  #16
At the moment Russians are a big mafia for their own people= russians!

Who do you imply by Russians and russians? :)
McCoy 27 | 1,276
17 Dec 2009  #17
is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?

lol, no. its europe, xxi century not the middle of some tutsi and hutu war.
jwojcie 2 | 763
17 Dec 2009  #18
If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them? Am I better of with just speaking English?

Well, if you start conversation like this:
"Przepraszam, ale nie mówię po polsku, czy możemy rozmawiać po rosyjsku?"
wich means:
"Excuse me, I don't speak Polish, could we talk in Russian?"

Then you will not offend anyone :-) I was teached that hidden truth the hard way in France long time ago, when I tried to use English without warning :-) Some people just think it is impolite not to ask above mentioned question. Btw, all you Englismen in Poland, you should to master sentence like this, but change "rosyjsku" na "angielsku" ;-)
kondzior 8 | 947
19 Dec 2009  #19
Offensive? Hardly.
But not too many people will understand you. Even "the older ones".
I, for one, will hit 40 in couple of days, and I cannot even remember all letters of the Russian alphabet. Sure, I had to lern it at school, but it was long ago.

Maybe it is becouse my school years was taking place at the eighties, at the time one tried to get the lowest possible grades (that still let you to graduate to the next class) of "the language of the enemy", least one would be considered a "komuch" (commie) and face some serious ostracism.

Maybe people in theirs sixties or so will understand Russian language better, not sure.
Bimber - | 1
19 Dec 2009  #20
Gaa, czy miejsce gdzie mieszkasz, przypadkowo nazywa się Przemyśł?? I'm only asking because I met a family named Lula from there, and they said their city's not far from the Ukrainian border.

Why should one speak English in Poland? I mean, I supposed it's one's right to speak whichever language they want, only, by speaking one's English mother tongue in Poland, for that matter, ANY country outside England, Canada and the US, will it necessarily be understood correctly or on the same level as an educated English speaker??

Tried once speaking English abroad, just for fun, and the results were slightly less than satisfying.

I guess it really depends:-)
Gaa 2 | 155
19 Dec 2009  #21
Gaa, czy miejsce gdzie mieszkasz, przypadkowo nazywa się Przemyśł?? I'm only asking because I met a family named Lula from there, and they said their city's not far from the Ukrainian border.

nie, trochę dalej:) but i know a lot of pople from Przemysl
vetala - | 382
19 Dec 2009  #22
If I traveled to Poland, would I offend anyone if I spoke Russian to them?

No. Our famous dislike for Russians is only skin-deep, nobody takes it seriously enough to feel offended only by the language (which sounds very pretty to a Polish ear anyway). On the other hand there's a general belief among Poles that foreigners think of Poland as a village in Russia with no distinct culture or language, so if you try speaking in Russian right away without asking if people understand, they might have the impression that you can't tell the difference between Poles and Russians and THAT might be insulting.

Am I better of with just speaking English?

Yes, with everyone under 30.
nana - | 40
20 Dec 2009  #23
i do not understand what you are speaking about :)
I am Russin living in Poland. Very often people speaks to me in russian in shops,restaurants, streets - even i speak with them on Polish. But every one always happy to mention that they had learned Russian at school, remember some words , knows Pushkin and have some friends in Russia

Maybe they want just to chat. I was learning russian in secondary school(it was few years ago) and I remember parents' protest: why, its not important, english is better etc. but i dont regret. I liked russian and I regret that i dont use it as much as i would. maybe these people even though it was associated with stalinism and comunism they liked that language and they wanted to talk and practise russian :)More over because of learning russian i liked and i was interested in slavic culture overall.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
20 Dec 2009  #24
It would be considered that way but it's always worth a laugh. Too many gits here think Britain is only England so I should really speak Russian as if Russian and Polish are the same. I wouldn't want to be ignorant, though.
George8600 10 | 637
21 Dec 2009  #25
Polish people not only like it when Russian is spoken to them, but also when the speaker is wearing a shirt depicting Generalissmo Stalin while doing so. ;-)
DomPolski 7 | 33
21 Dec 2009  #26
hahah no? offensive? the people who would get offended by that are soft little women.
Mr Grunwald 19 | 1,542
21 Dec 2009  #27
I am Russin living in Poland.

That is becaouse your Russian and most probably you don't tend to behave like an imperialistic moron. So people like you for who you are, but mind you I wouldn't like foreigners speaking Russian to me in Poland becaouse it would feel that Russian language is the langua france wich is not, and I dearly hope it won't ever be again. Unless there is some respective union between Russia&Poland (but I HIGHLY doubt that will happen)

It would be considered that way but it's always worth a laugh. Too many gits here think Britain is only England

As people have negative association with Britain and most of them think it's England and I presume your Scottish, then I wouldn't been so unhappy if I were you.
Sasha 2 | 1,083
21 Dec 2009  #28
I would consider speaking Russian in any Slavic country (except for the former USSR) as the last option to stick with. In Croatia I wanted to buy a watermelon from coster monger who hadn't seemed to speak any other language except for Croatian and my Serbian in its turn is not that good as to use some specific terms like "watermelon". Thence we used "Russo-Serbian" instead. But that was the only situation I can recall.
Hyacinthus 1 | 20
28 Dec 2009  #29
aphrodisiac:
I would suggest that since most Poles don't like speaking Russian, even if they can.
i do not understand what you are speaking about :)
I am Russin living in Poland. Very often people speaks to me in russian in shops,restaurants, streets - even i speak with them on Polish. But every one always happy to mention that they had learned Russian at school, remember some words , knows Pushkin and have some friends in Russia /

This is what I said,even though one nation there are different people.I lived in Russia in St.Petersburg for one year and came to Warsaw Last year.I met some girls like travelers or somebody like this,they were so surprised that I spoke Russian to them in the old town in one of the ice cream shop.Do you know wht the assistant said to us,she was,it seems to me at middle age,she said Russian plz speak out of the shop!!!And also I realize that russian and polish,i refer the nations,their relationship is not so good as polish with german
Trevek 26 | 1,702
29 Dec 2009  #30
I'd try English first, especially with younger people, simply because a lot of youngsters don't know Russian. Perhaps the older people will be happy to use Russian, particularly if they don't speak English. I find it with German, many older people automatically speak to me in german, even if I try speaking Polish to them.

I was teached that hidden truth the hard way in France long time ago, when I tried to use English without warning :-)

Haha, yes. My boss at the language school (He's Polish) complained to me that he'd been to France and asked for a menu in English and found the waiter unhelpful. I cringed at his story. I had to explain that the French are pretty proud of their language and there are only three ways to converse with them... NEVER just ask if they speak English.

1) Speak fluent French,

2) Speak such bad French that it hurts their ears. They will suddenly develop great English. They are more likely to reveal their English if they feel you are trying to respect that they are French and speak French (fair enough, really)

3) Speak any other language (except maybe German) and make it clear you don't speak French. They might then ask if you speak English.


Home / Life / Russian Language - is it offensive if I speak it to Polish people?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.